American Pride

FLagI was six years old the first time I felt an overwhelming feeling of patriotism. I was standing in my elementary school gym, staring at the flag with my right hand over my heart, singing at the top of my lungs.

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

I admit I don’t appreciate my freedom like I should. It’s not something I thank God for when I wake up in the morning. Instead, I find myself thanking him for the mundane conveniences in life, like being able to button my favorite jeans with no muffin top or a short commute. I skate through life, a smile on my face, rarely stopping to think about why it’s so great in the first place.

I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin’ here today.
‘ Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

When I do stop and think about it, I realize why it’s so easy to forget. I live in the greatest country – a developed country, a democracy. I’ve grown up with choices. The American dream was in my grasp from the moment I left the womb. I was born with the ability to succeed, if I chose to do so.

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

A grin spread on my young face as we all approached our favorite verse. I grabbed my best friend, Kayla’s hand, bending my knees in anticipation of what came next.

And I gladly stand up,

In unison, we stood as tall as we could. We stretched our heads to the ceiling, our voices filling the air. We sang louder, and we sang prouder.

next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

The beauty of this country is that we come together in the time of need. Unfortunately, those times seem to be happening more and more often. The internet swirls with banners of breaking news. News that makes my heart sink. News that makes me reevaluate my priorities and hug my loved ones at home. News that makes me ask “Why?”

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.

I don’t think I’ll ever find the answer to that looming question but what I do know is that I will always find people who care. And just as I was filled with pride as a six year old singing a song, I am filled with the same feeling as an adult.

From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there’s pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.

Last night, Tom and I went to the Blackhawks play-off game. The crowd was a sea of red, filled with loud, excited chatter. I was anxious with anticipation as we waited for the game to start. I sipped my beer making small talk with Tom as I observed the crowd. It was amazing to think just a week earlier the whole country was in a state of turmoil.

That I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

For every tragedy, there is a nation united, standing as one. And I can’t think of a better place to experience this unity than a Blackhawk’s game. As with most American games, it is preceded with a rendition of the national anthem. The difference being at the United Center it is not the quiet rendition.

A voice boomed through the stadium announcing Jim Cornelison, the same singer who has sang the anthem for the last four years. In that moment, I was transported back to my six year old self but this time I grabbed Tom’s hand. We stood up, anticipating what came next.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA

As soon as Jim belted the first note, the fans erupted in cheers. The entire stadium was yelling, clapping, singing…and smiling. I looked around observing the pure joy and pride on every single person’s face. The fans were united. The fans were proud. And the fans were loud!

And I’m proud to be and American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

“I’m so happy.” I shouted to Tom. “I’m busting with pride. This is amazing!”

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,

For me, pride is an overwhelming feeling that doesn’t happen every day but last night was a reminder. Being proud of our country shouldn’t be a feeling that comes out only in the wake of tragedy. It should be something I feel every day.

God bless the USA.

*Here is a video of the Blackhawks national anthem.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s